Chairman un-registered Civil Society Islamabad (CSI) Raja Jamil Abbasi, alleged that the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has been constantly violating the directions issued by Civil Judge Nasir Irfan Tarar, who has directed the CDA to immediately close down all operations in the Arts and Crafts Village (A&C), located adjacent to the Rose Garden & Jasmine Garden.

However, CDA spokesman Ramzan Sajid when contacted by ‘The News’ said that the directions issued by Civil Judge Nasir Irfan Tarar have already been implemented in letter and spirit and all operations in the A&C Village have been suspended till the matter is decided by the court.

But Raja Jamil Abbasi alleged that Civil Judge Nasir Irfan Tarar had granted a stay order in response to his petition that he filed on March 15, 2011, and directed the CDA to immediately stop the ‘Indus Heritage’, an NGO, running the operations in the A&C Village under an agreement signed back on January 1, 2005. “But the CDA quietly ignored the directions issued by the learned civil judge and allowed the Indus Heritage to continue to operate.

“I moved a contempt of court petition in the court of Civil Judge Nasir Irfan Tarar on March 24, against the CDA for allowing the Indus Heritage to continue their operations in the A&C Village in violation of the directions of the court,” Raja Jamil Abbasi told ‘The News’.

He alleged that it was a shady agreement under which the CDA awarded the contract to Indus Heritage to run the multi-purpose A&C Village spread over a vast piece of land measuring 50 acres, located between Rose & Jasmine Garden and Shakarparian hillock.

“This big complex, which costs the CDA around Rs330 million in constructions, was handed over to this NGO (Indus Heritage) which came into being at least 11 days after the CDA advertised in the national media, inviting organisations with ampler experience in the field of art and craft to run the facility,” he added.

He alleged that the NGO (Indus Heritage) has been receiving huge grants and donations from different donor organizations and foreign countries but they are not spending the money for the welfare of artists, artistes, or artisans, neither have they launched any project to protect, preserve and promote any of the art or crafts of the country.

He alleged that the NGO is not only not helping these artists, artistes, or artisans but on the contrary they are charging fee from them for setting up stalls in the A&C Village. “They also charge fee from the commercial companies who advertise at the A&C Village whenever the NGO organises any activity here they don’t share the money with the CDA,” Raja Jamil Abbasi alleged.

However, Coordinator Insani Haqooq Ittehad (Human Rights Coalition) Waseem Wahga said that they are staging protest outside the A&C Village against CDA’s action to abruptly close down the facility.

“The Insani Haqooq Ittehad is a platform for all the NGOs, the civil society organisations and the human rights activists to raise their voice and concerns. And we are protesting here in support of the Indus Heritage to protect their right to run and manage the facility as per agreement signed with the CDA. We are also raising our voice to protect the rights of the poor artists and artisans who have set up their stalls and shops,” Wahga said, when contacted by ‘The News’.

He said that because of the abrupt and unannounced decision to close down the A&C Village by the CDA some artists and artisans have got trapped inside the A&C Village while some are now sitting outside with their belongings locked inside.

He said that these artists and artisans have come from far-flung areas of the country and some artists from Balochistan have got trapped inside the A&C Village. “They don’t even have anything to eat because the eatery inside the A&C Village has also been closed down,” he added.